Change of strategy paid off, says jockey Sandesh
The PRA Independence Million once again lived up to its notorious reputation of being a graveyard for fancied horses when 15-to-1 shot Brunello, superbly piloted by rising star Sandesh, ran away from his rivals to win the Independence Day card's feature race at the Pune racetrack
Another long shot Tara (20-to-1) finished runner up ahead of Lorelei & Celestial Call, who completed the frame. Brunello is owned by Vijay Shirke and trained by MK Jadhav.
“When I stole a glance in the final furlong, there was no one getting at me, so I knew we were home and dry,” an ecstatic Sandesh told MiD DAY after the race. He however, credited the win to a change in strategy. It may be noted that barely four days ago — on Saturday — Brunello and Sandesh had won a nine-furlong race at the same track by going to the front. This time though they decided to change tactics.
“I have ridden some of the horses in the fray today, and many of them like to go for the lead. So we decided to change the strategy and play the waiting game,” explained Sandesh, who positioned Brunello in midbunch, and made his move after the halfway mark of the 10-furlong race to get into the striking position. He made his move rounding the final turn, Brunello responded magnificently and sailed away from the rest.
For Sandesh, who is at the top of the jockeys’ championship table with 11 wins, this was the second feature that he bagged at this track, having won the Grade 3 Eve Champion Trophy last week.
The jockey who recently also won the Bangalore Derby astride Borsalino, hails from the hilly town of Matheran in Maharashtra, and is already being compared by old-timers to the legendary Vasant Shinde, who also came from the same place.